Nov 27, 2007

Shameless Self-Promotion

My 25th birthday is in one week, and I know you all are tortured with worries about your gifts for me. Is this diamond tennis bracelet too flashy, or not flashy enough? Did I remember to get a receipt for World Peace? Where is the appropriate place for a bow on a slave boy? That sort of thing. Let me clear up the confusion.

Might I suggest that you do good works in my name? You could donate a giant novelty check to a reputable local or national charity. Bonus points for handing it over to a tow-headed orphan, stoic cancer survivor or weeping disaster victim in a televised public ceremony. Planting a tree is also acceptable, as long as you include a commemorative plaque bearing my likeness. For the poor, cheap and/or lazy, why don't you tell one friend about my blog? Seeing that little hit counter tick over (along with comments of any kind) is what gives me the motivation to keep writing. That's assuming, of course, that you wish for me to continue.

I suppose after such a vain declaration I should blog something amusing. And so I bring you, My Family's Thoughts On Their Youngest Reaching The Quarter-Century Mark.

Mom: Oh god, I'll never get her married at this rate. *logs onto*
Dad: Hm, old enough for House but she should hold out for Senate. *wanders off to make campaign posters*
Brother: What? Is it some one's birthday? *goes back to work*

Just kidding! Mostly. Anyway, all I really want is money love.

Nov 21, 2007

National Family History Day

You may be under the impression that Thanksgiving is all about stuffing your face and passing out on the couch in front of football games/parades/Christmas movies (come earlier every year, don't they?). And while I don't wish to detract from the true spirit of this most American of holidays, I'd like to remind you that tomorrow is also National Family History Day. Huzzah! Get out your pedigree stencil and medical records release form, this is gonna be fun.

Don't know what I'm talking about? Check it out on the Surgeon General's website. Getting more information on your family's medical history is not only a great way to annoy grandma while she's trying to enjoy her tryptophan-induced stupor, it could save your life. Right now you're thinking, 'is she being serious?' The answer is YES. As serious as the heart attack you could avoid by knowing about your predisposition to cardiovascular disease and consulting your physician (for example).

The Surgeon General's website has a great family history tool that makes organizing your family tree (or "pedigree," as we say in the biz) easy. And you can have fun with it. Get photos or draw pictures of your family members, and make a pedigree collage. If you're technically inclined, make a website so that all of your geographically distant relations can contribute. Shake any family tree hard enough and a genealogist or two will fall out - you'll be surprised at how bad ass fascinating your ancestry can be!

Nov 20, 2007

Another excerpt from Desi Kids

"We're going to have a great time, okay? And make some awesome food, am I right?" The instructor, a petite blonde woman, beamed out over her captive audience. She wore a sturdy apron over her t-shirt and jeans, and as she spoke she whipped her long hair up into a ponytail. Planting her hands on her hips she continued, "Why don't we go around the room and say our names and favorite dishes?"

Sati tried to pay close attention as the men and women around her announced strange names and stranger meals. My English is terrible, she fretted. I cannot understand half of what they are saying. She was trying to puzzle out how to make a loaf out of meat when she realized everyone was staring at her.

"Oh! I am Sati Chandra," she strained to make her voice audible over the shuffling of feet and clearing of throats. "I like to make ..." Her mind blanked. "Ah. I like -"

"O.M.G., if you say 'chutney' you will totally steal my answer!" A long-legged beauty, who looked as if she had stepped straight off a Bollywood movie poster, dropped her bag beside Sati's workstation. "So sorry I'm late. I couldn't find a place to park, like, anywhere. Also, my name's Pooja Shertukde. Hi!" Her grin at once encompassed the entire class and singled each of them out as her particular friend.

Word count: ~25,000. Slowly but surely.

Nov 15, 2007

Progress report

Word count after three days off work: ~20,000. Not good, folks - I had hoped to be up to 25K, at least. Of course, if you count all the blog entries I've made so far this month ...

Personal blog:
11/2/07 - NaNoWriMo begins - 200 words
11/9/07 - Work sucks, I know - 260 words
11/13/07 - Let the wild rumpus begin! - 320 words

TV blog:
11/2/07 - I feel compelled to mention, THE END IS NEAR - 130 words
11/7/07 - Is it moral ambiguity or an epidemic of dissociative identity disorder? - 750 words
11/10/07 - Strike Watch, Episode I - 380 words
11/13/07 - Strike Watch, Episode II - 180 words

Total blog word count - 2200 words (give or take).

Still. Not. ENOUGH! Why did I think I could do this? It's insane - produce the first draft of a novel within a month? Ludicrous!

I once had a philosophy professor who said, "Man's reach should exceed his grasp ... that's why none of you will be able to earn an A in this course."

I've always hated that saying.

P.S. Thank you Rachel, Erin, Sarah, Kelli, Monica, Julie and Satan Melanie for your kind comments!

Nov 13, 2007

Let the wild rumpus begin!

Big news - I passed my certification exam! Not only that, but all of my classmates passed, as well. You go, girls! Now we get to add C.G.C. to our qualifications. As if I needed more letters at the end of my name.

I celebrated by taking three days off from work to write my novel. No, it doesn't make sense. But I'm OK with that. Wistar and I tried to do a mini-retreat in her parent's house, but ended up blogging and showing each other amusing websites all day. I did type up what I had previously written, and wrote about 500 words .... *sigh* I am so screwed with this whole NaNoWriMo thing. My only hope is to set a grueling pace for the next two days, with an eye to reach 25,000 words by Thursday.

Anyway, after an exhausting day of pretending to write, I needed a break. So Mike and I went out to South Street Brewery for grad student night. I'm not that into beer, but I'm definitely into grad students. I even saw a guy I had met at a party, and decided to be friendly.

Me: *waving like a fool*
Guy: *blink blink, walks on by*
Girl He Was With: *looks right at me, then away*
Me: Well, damn.

I didn't let it ruin my night. Mike and I had a great time. We only left when some sketchy guy in a baseball hat came over to talk to us and ask if we knew any good jokes. I waited until we got into the parking lot to tell Mike the one about four naughty nuns. Our laughter rang through the night like the sounding of joyous church bells, waking the neighborhood drunkards from their stupor at an ironically ungodly hour.

You know you've been writing too much when your prose is purple from asphyxiation.

Word count: ~15,000. Kill me now.

Nov 9, 2007

Work sucks, I know

Work has really been getting me down lately (I won't get into the nightmare-inducing details). Plus, my former classmate Emily called to inform me that some lucky counselors have received their certification exam results. Combine the looming threat of failure with general job dissatisfaction, and you get a recipe for trouble. Don't worry, Mom. Regardless of my success with NaNoWriMo(a), I'm not going to quit my career. But I have half a mind to stop all efforts to disguise my gross incompetence. And so, I bring you ...

When I Am Fired, It Will Be For One Of These Reasons:

1. Lack of empathy
Me: So, did you follow-up on those issues we discussed?
Patient: *in a harassed tone* Yes! I did everything, alright? God!
Me: Um... suuuuuuure. Quick question - you realize that I'm just asking for your benefit, right? And that I don't actually care? Great.(b)

2. Poor clinic coordination skills
Me: Head Doc's coming down the hall with a patient who had an abnormal ultrasound.
FV: What?!? Why do they schedule things like this at 3pm on a Friday???
Me: Um. I was covering phones, and I scheduled it.
FV: *stony silence*
Me: The referring physician's office requested this time. They said she wouldn't need an amniocentesis, so --
FV: *stonier silence*
Me: I'll just ... go now.

3. Back-talk
Me: *cough cough*
Head Doc: Hm. Consumption.
FV: What?
Me: He's saying I have tuberculosis.
FV: I have never heard it called "consumption."
Me: Well, that's how they referred to it when Head Doc was training ... in the late 1800's. Ooh, burn!

(a) Word count: ~13,000.
(b) Please note, I did not say this out loud. Even I'm not that stupid.

Nov 6, 2007

Excerpt from my novel, Desi Kids (working title)

The only light in the dim parking lot flickered feebly, like the ugliest strobe light imaginable. The smell of oil and urine was pervasive, occasionally dispelled by a tepid breeze off what must have been a nearby landfill. Though it was nearly midnight, the whole place was filled with a moist warmth that stuck to the back of Artie’s throat. The only sounds were the yowls of tomcats in the alley and the distant thrum of bass. Sirens would have provided an appropriate counterpoint, but Artie reasoned that even the police avoided this neighborhood at night.

Word count: ~ 10,000. I didn't quite meet my goal of 12,500 for the first week, but I think that's a pretty decent start. Go me!

Nov 2, 2007

NaNoWriMo begins

Last night marked the beginning of NaNoWriMo! Unfortunately, I wasn't really in The Mood when I got home. First of all, I had a headache and a slight fever. Secondly, my grammar usage had just been insulted at work (if you know my bosses you can guess who, how that went down, and how blatantly wrong he was).

Anyway, I was feeling pretty low. I know myself well enough that if I'm not feeling in the pink, I won't be productive without outside motivation. So I called my wing woman, Wistar, and begged an invitation to her house.

Of course, I ended up puttering around and distracting her and her boyfriend, Darren, from their work. I played music, I stole earrings, I smelled things, I asked annoying questions. And I ate a lot of leftover Halloween candy. But they took it all in stride, giving me Advil and a cold remedy, and not choking me to death (as they would have been well within their rights to do). So, thanks guys! You're in a good position to get a mention in my acknowledgments.

Word count: ~5000, almost all of which I had already written and was just revising. Poop.